Zambia’s Tisilile Lungu and Jessica Wade from South Africa will enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Spain next year courtesy of LaLiga after being rewarded for their performances at the 2020 COSAFA Women’s Under-17 Championship that finished this past weekend.
Lungu was named Player of the Tournament as Zambia were edged on penalties in the final by Tanzania, while Wade captained her side with distinction, supplying goals and assists as the home side finished third in the pool.
“The Technical Study Group that analysed all aspects of the action on the pitch highlighted the contribution of the duo for their sides and felt they were deserving of the offer made by LaLiga to take two players from the competition to Spain.
“The pair will get to train with local sides to understand the level required to be a professional in Europe, see the sights and sounds of Spain and, if COVID-19 allows, take in a Spanish LaLiga game,” said COSAFA in a statement.
In an interview with COSAFA.com, Bantwana captain said: “It’s an incredible opportunity and such a wonderful surprise, I had no idea something like this existed. To get the message that says you have an opportunity to go to Spain and train with local clubs and learn about their football culture is incredible and such a wonderful opportunity.”
Wade also added that the South African Under-17 Women’s team had hoped to go all the way in the competition’s final.
“It was more the results actually than how we played. It was unfortunate to end where we did, but the two teams that finished at the top deserved to be there and played better football than us,” she adds.
“Individually, I didn’t have a bad tournament. It wasn’t absolutely fantastic because I couldn’t do for the team what I would have liked.”
Zambia’s Under-17 star Lungu also expressed her gratitude stating that she’s also delighted with the chance to go to Spain and test her skills there.
“I’m so excited and I’m looking forward to meeting other people and to learn from them,” said Lungu.
Lungu went on to say that she hopes to emulate the likes of current senior national team star Barbra Banda, who has played in Europe and China.
“I do admire her, I also want to reach the position where Barbra Banda is. I also want to be there,” said the Player of the Tournament.
COSAFA stated that the same opportunity will be given to two players at the 2020 COSAFA Men’s Under-17 Championship set to begin on Thursday at Nelson Mandela Bay.
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By Mauwane Raophala